Talking Point

Ten-point Pledge Ten years on

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As we approach the ten-year anniversary of the West Ham ownership of David Sullivan and David Gold I have given my own personal review the ten-point pledge they made back in 2010 to see how they have done.

The pledge and how they have fared is subjective but I have attempted to give a balanced review.

1. Appoint the right manager

Our efforts are focused on recruiting a high-calibre manager with the necessary experience to deliver good football and, most importantly, results. A shortlist of candidates has been identified and the appointment will be made with enough time to prepare for pre-season.

Verdict: They got off to bad start with Avram Grant but Sam Allardyce while unpopular did was what needed at the time and did the job that was asked of him. Slaven Bilic was a popular choice and they also showed ambition with Manuel Pellegrini despite it ultimately ending infailure. Th e jury is still out on David Moyes but we hope he comes good and proves a lot of people wrong. On balance they scrape a PASS on this pledge.

2. Sign new players
For too long, the focus has been on players leaving rather than arriving. We will strengthen in the right areas to ensure an exciting and balanced squad that is well placed to cope with the rigours of a Premier League season. Our main aim will be to bring in players hungry to do well who share our ambitions and aspirations.

Verdict: In the last 10 years, they have invested £285m net spend on the playing squad. Since the move to London Stadium, there has been a net spend of £210.4m demonstrating how the move has allowed the Board to accelerate its investment in the squad. I am sure many people will argue that many of these players have failed to produce but when you accept the pledge was to sign new players I think he has to be a PASS.

3. More investment in the Academy
Tony Carr remains at the heart of the club and his work in developing future first-team players remains essential for the long-term success of this club. We will make sure homegrown talent nurtured in the West Ham way will always be given the chance to complement established players brought in from elsewhere.

Verdict: There has been an investment of over £10m investment across training facilities, £4m of which is on Chadwell Heath. The Board say they are absolutely committed to ensuring the Academy goes from strength to strength and that the Club continues to recruit and develop the best young players. Last season saw Declan Rice make his senior England debut and four Academy graduates made their first team debuts. Many will argue that West Ham don’t spend enough and remain behind the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs but we don’t have their financial power so have to life within our means. As the pledge as more investment in the Academy and didn’t promise to compete with the top six it has to be a PASS too.

4. Continue to clear the debt
We have a responsibility to ensure this club is never again placed in a perilous position. Great strides have been taken to get us on a sound financial footing but there is still a way to go. Difficult decisions have had to be made – and that will continue to be the case – but our bottom line on the bottom line is to ensure the club survives.

Verdict: In 2010, the Club was £110m in debt and heading towards administration and in an awful financial state in hands of the Icelandic’s. Today, the Club is financial stable and
sustainable, bank debt is paid down and they have attracted further investment to help make it sustainable. The only remaining debt is owed to share holders which is deferred. £45m owed to Sullivan and Gold while £9.5m owed to Tripp Smith. Has to be a PASS

5. Freeze season ticket prices for renewals
We are delighted we have been able to freeze season ticket prices, save for the VAT increase, but we will not stop there. We are looking at more ways of rewarding those fans who make such a long-term commitment and have excellent offers for younger supporters, who are the lifeblood of this club. Member benefits will also improve.

Verdict: I am not sure this was ever supposed to be a commitment to freeze season ticket prices forever. They were frozen for many years and the price rises have been well below inflation when factored over the ten years. West Ham say they are extremely proud to be the home of affordable family football in London and the Premier League.

West Ham welcomes around 10,000 children and young adults to London Stadium every week for just £5.21 per game on average with their £99 under 16s season ticket. 
The Club also comes out very favourably in terms of the average season ticket prices for under 21s and over 65s, with those supporters able to enjoy each match at London Stadium from as little as £8.42 as part of a season ticket – almost one-and-a-half times less than the average Premier League price of £21 per match.

An adult-supporting Hammer can watch their team for just under half the average price across the league, which works out at just £16.84 per match if they purchase a £320 season ticket, which is the cheapest available season ticket in the Premier League. Another PASS

6. Build the status and image of the club
Our standing at home and abroad is rightly built on our proud history and our commitment to young talent. The values of the Academy of Football developed since the days of Bobby Moore define what we are all about. With the world's spotlight set to shine on this part of London, the time is right to spread the word further.

Verdict: This one is highly subjective but there is no doubt the West Ham brand has become more well-known worldwide in the last ten years although much of this could be said to be the proliferation and popularity of the Premier League. There is no arguing that 60,000 tickets are sold out each week for every League game with plans to raise this to 62,500. There are 54,000 season tickets. West Ham have the 7 th highest total attendance in Europe. The Hammers have the 2 nd highest attendance in the Premier League

The club have grown a digital audience of over 7.7m over the past ten years. In 2010, the Club has no place in top-ranking football clubs but today West Ham have been ranked by Forbes as the 14 th Most Valuable Football Team In The World – $754m

By Deloitte West Ham are ranked as the Top 17th Football Club in the world

By Brand Finance West Ham are ranked the fastest growing brand in world football with a brand value of $274m.

There have been some gaffes and own goals in the last ten years which have led to headlines in the British press which have tarnished our image as club but overall I would still rate this pledge as a PASS

7. Make it enjoyable to come and watch

We want to bring the fun back. It is a serious business but we know you work hard all week and want to kick back at the weekend and enjoy yourselves. We want you to be excited on a matchday, and not just about the style of football. We are looking at ways to improve our pre-match and half-time entertainment and will welcome suggestions.

Verdict: There can be no doubts we have witnessed some enjoyable games and historic wins over the past ten years particularly under Slaven Bilic and Manuel Pellegrini but there have been awful times under Avram Grant and Sam Allardyce too. The change of the stadium takes some getting used to. This is still a work in progress we are going in the right direction. The Club have taken on board suggestions from supporters and have been introducing improvements to improve the matchday experience at the London Stadium the entertainment has to start on the pitch with the players.
JURY STILL OUT

8. Get closer to the community
This club does excellent work in the local area already but we want to move even closer to schools and businesses on our doorstep. We can extend our commitment to multi-sports, education and healthy living and show there is more to this club than just first-team football. We take our social responsibility very seriously.

Verdict: An area hopefully no supporter can disagree with. West Ham have invested £18m in in the local community since the London Stadium move was confirmed and launched the Players’ Project regarded as one of the most ambitious and well thought out community project within the Premier League. The club have also committed to invest a further £15m over three years to community projects.
A big PASS on this pledge!

9. Go for the Olympic Stadium
Leaving the Boleyn Ground will be a wrench but the Olympic Stadium is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a financial and football sense. Our potential partnership with Newham Council promises to take this club to a new level, while protecting our history and traditions. To move forward, we have to move – but always with an eye on the past.

Verdict: We accept not everyone likes the London Stadium, but it is hard to argue they didn’t ‘Go for the Olympic Stadium’ and won the tender process not once but twice. While some will argue it is not a traditional football stadium it was an opportunity too good to turn down and the fact that the stadium is sold out to 60,000 each week with 54,000 season ticket holders and a waiting list suggests they were right to go for it! West Ham have the 7th highest attendance in Europe and 2 nd highest in the Premier League so it has it be marked a PASS

10. Listen to supporters

Arguably the most important of all is our commitment to listen to what you have to say. We know we are just the custodians of this club. You who follow us every week, whether near or far, are the true owners. Whether talking to you online or in print, or face to face at fan forums, we will be open, transparent and available.

Verdict: This is probably one of the more contentious issues when it comes to the pledge, many will argue they don’t engage with supporters enough or don’t engage in the right way or don’t engage with the right groups but it is all highly subjective.

The Official West Ham United Supporters’ Board was established in place of the old Supporters Advisory Board to create an open, transparent and ongoing dialogue between the Club and supporters and ensures that the views of the fanbase are heard at the highest level of the Club but it has had its critics.

The members were chosen by an independent selection process. The club say they strongly believe that they have created a meaningful model for engagement, consultation, and structured dialogue. The Club now has five members in the Supporter Services team, a 50 strong team of Matchday Supporter Liaison Officers, nine information points on matchday.

West Ham have been ranked third in the Premier League for fan engagement a new study has revealed. Only Leicester City and Everton score higher. Overall the Hammers were ranked 28th from all 92 clubs in all four divisions.

There is no doubt there is still room for improvement for supporter engagement but as the old the saying goes you can never please all of the people all of the time.

Still room for improvement so marked as the JURY IS STILL OUT

Fellow WHTID Author Nigel Kahn together with fellow presenter John Bucci discusses the Ten-point pledge on Moore Than Just A Podcast last night which can be listened or downloaded from www.moorethanjustapodcast.co.uk


Talking Point

Worst and Best of the decade

When Iain asked all of his authors to give him their best team of the decade, I asked if I could do something different by posting my worst as well as my best team of the decade.

So let us start with the worst

In goal is Roberto by a country mile relegating Joe Hart to the bench.

Left-back has to be Razavn ‘Roland’ Rat with Roger the relegator Johnson and Jose Fonte as center-backs and Avarvo Arbeloa at right back

Carlos Sanchez has done enough or should that be hasn’t done enough to earn himself a place alongside Nigel Quashie

Left-wing it is the bizarre Savio with Gokhan Tore on the right-wing

I have gone for two upfront such as useless as each other with Benni Mccarthy and Mido

On the bench is Jordon Hugill, Joe Hart, Patrice Evra, Andy Carroll, Sam Byram and Jack Wilshere

The manager of course is Avram Grant

Now for the best which I believe many of our current fill as the quality hasn’t been that great in the last ten years.

Fabianksi in goal beating Adrian to the bench

Left-back I would put Aaron Cresswell with Issa Diop and an in-form Winston Reid with Ryan Fredericks as right back.

In front of the back four, I would have Declan Rice paired with Scott Parker

On the left-wing, I would have Dimi Payet with Michail Antonio on the right-wing

Upfront I would have Demba Ba paired with Marko Arnautovic

On the bench: Adrian, Mark Noble, James Collins, Manuel Lanzini, Seb Haller, Diafra Sakho and Felipe Anderson 7

Manager: Slaven Bilic

Happy New Year to one and all West Ham family


Talking Point

London Stadium Survey results published

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The results from the London Stadium survey 2019 are in with 4,358 match going supporters filling it out – we are able to publish a true reflection of West Ham fan’s updated perceptions of the London Stadium, one year on from the last survey and 31 months after moving into the former Olympic Stadium. Perceptions have improved in every category in the last 12 months.

The supporter survey was promoted by several West Ham websites, blogs and social media channels including WestHamTillIdie.com.

After thirty months in the London Stadium do you believe that the move was a good idea?

Yes 49%
No 27%
Not sure 24%

This is a significant improvement since last year when only 22% said the move was a good idea.

When will the London stadium feel like our proper home?

It does already 20%
2-5 seasons 32%
6-10 seasons 18%
+10 seasons 9%
It never will 21%

An increase of 14% on ‘it does already’ from last year and a decrease of 20% on ‘it never will’

If you are a season ticket holder do you plan to renew for next season?

Already have 12%
Yes 47%
No 4%
Not sure 11%
Not a season ticket holder 22%
On the waiting list 4%

This indicates that around 3,149 of those filling out the survey claim they are season ticket holders w

This means 532 (17%) say they have already renewed their season tickets, 1,989 (63%) plan to renew before the 31st May deadline, 183 (6%) say they will give up their season ticket at the end of this season and 445 (14%) are undecided at the moment.

The big take out on this question is only 6% say they won’t renew, it was 18% last year. The actual number who didn’t renew was 8% last season.

If you are a season ticket holder have you ever used ticket exchange functionality for matches you can’t make?

I never miss a game 20%
Yes sometimes 20%
Yes, every time I can’t go 10%
I prefer to sell it myself or forward to a friend or family 30%
Not worth it financially 17%
I prefer to leave my seat empty 3%

Indicates an increase of 5% in the last year using Ticket exchange from 25% to 30%. Over 3,000 season ticket holders sold their seats on Ticket Exchange at the Huddersfield game.

What is your view on the general matchday atmosphere at the London Stadium in terms of volume and support for the team?

Excellent 5%
Good 37%
Average 44%
Poor 14%

An increase of 15% saying the general atmosphere is excellent or good from last year probably down to more wins at home and some better football.

What is your view on the quality of stewarding and security taking into account the last game you attended at the London Stadium?

Excellent 2%
Good 22%
Average 45%
Poor 31%

An increase of 12% on excellent and good on this question although could have been affected by Burnley troubles last year

What is your view on the quality, choice and price of food and drink within the London Stadium?

Excellent 2%
Good 15%
Average 42%
Poor 41%

Not much improvement here showing a 6% improvement on saying the quality, choice and price of food and drink is excellent or good.

What is your experience of the London Stadium sightlines and views of the pitch from your seat?

Excellent 21%
Good 44%
Average 21%
Poor 14%

Another improvement of 17% in the Excellent and Good areas indicating people are changing their perceptions of sightlines

What is your experience of travelling to and from the London Stadium taking into account walking, public transport or car?

Excellent 13%
Good 36%
Average 26%
Poor 25%

Another improvement of 15% suggesting supporters are getting used to the transport links and finding better and more efficient ways to travel.

How do you rate your general match day experience at the London Stadium?

Excellent 7%
Good 48%
Average 34%
Poor 11%

A massive increase of 28% in the Excellent and Good section on last year suggests perceptions are changing.

West Ham has been criticised by some for not paying enough in the contribution to the running costs. Do you think West Ham should pay more?

Yes 22%
No 54%
Don’t know 24%.

A reduction of 22% that think West Ham should pay more

Do you think West Ham will become a regular top six club within the next five years as a result of the move to the London Stadium?

Yes 14%
No 62%
Not sure 24%

An increase of 11% who think West Ham can become a regular top six club

Do you think West Ham will kick on to the next level and become a top-four team within ten years as a result of the move to the London Stadium?

Yes 7%
No 70%
Not sure 23%

An increase of 4% who think West Ham can become a regular top six club

Do you think the West Ham board are doing a good job?

Excellent 3%
Good 36%
Average 45%
Poor 16%

The board last has seen an increase of 34% in Excellent and Good areas compared to last year.

How well does West Ham value you as a supporter and listen to fans concerns?

Excellent 2%
Good 20%
Average 47%
Poor 31%

An increase of 16% on last year in Excellent and Good areas.

These results together with 1,426 additional comments were sent to David Sullivan, David Gold,  Karren Brady, Tara Warren and Andy Mollet this morning.

The full 2019 results can be found HERE

For comparison here are the 2018 results & 2017 results


Poll

2019 London Stadium Supporters' Survey

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Just over two years ago we ran the first London Stadium survey in March 2017.

Supported by a number of different West Ham websites, blogs and social media accounts, the survey was completed by over 10,000 match-going supporters in previous years.

The 2018 survey results were published last year at www.westhamtillidie.com/posts/2018/05/01/london-stadium-survey-2018-the-results

The 2019 survey takes around three minutes to fill out and is designed only for those who have visited the London Stadium in person to sample one or more West Ham games this season. Please base your answers on your most recent visit to the London stadium to recognise areas which may have improved.

We would like to encourage as many season ticket holders, claret members and general admission ticket supporters to answer this questionnaire as possible so please spread the word far and wide on forums and social media. This is designed to be an independent survey of supporters and not affiliated one particular West Ham site, blog or social media channel.

A copy of the results of this survey including all comments will be shared with the West Ham board of directors at the closing date of 31st March.

Fill in the 2019 London Stadium Survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Y6JN8JG


Talking Point

Should Karren Brady be allowed to negotiate BREXIT?

West Ham Vice Chairman Karren Brady appeared before the London Assembly Budget Monitoring committee at City Hall earlier this week and her performance was impressive.

The Baroness says she finds E20’s match day costs of up to £290,000 per West Ham game quite incredible and she doesn’t understand them.

Brady explained that West Ham’s running costs at the Boleyn Ground before the move were £51,000 per match day including stewarding, police and electricity for the former 35,000 stadium in Green Street. She added even doubling that amount should mean a cost of £102,000 per match day which would be less than West Ham rent for the London Stadium. She says she shared those figures as part of the original tender process. She insisted that West Ham’s rent was not too low at close to £3m per year but the London Stadium running costs were way too high. “I refuse to accept any criticism that our rent is too low, because that is simply not the case. Costs are too high,” Brady said.

Brady claimed she offered free help to the stadium owners 15 times but her offer of advice despite 25 years of running stadia had been refused.

The Baroness also told the London Assembly committee that she has reached an agreement with stadium owners London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) on a suite of disputes yesterday with CEO Lyn Garner the evening before before her appearance at City Hall.

Brady says the LLDC has now agreed that West Ham can rename the London East Stand after a West Ham player thought to be Billy Bonds and there is also an agreement to install a statue at Champions place outside the stadium where the Champions Statue from Green Street was supposed to be moved.

She added that there is now an agreement on a new pitch surround which will be mainly claret with West ham crossed Hammers logos with a small London Stadium dark blue edge to it. The West Ham honours board will also be re-instated after the two sides came to an agreement.

The West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady revealed that West Ham United and E20 Stadium LLP will go to court on the 19th of next month. Brady estimated that both sides had spent around £2m each so far and the matter was unlikely to be resolved out of court at this late stage, adding whoever loses would pay the other’s legal costs.

The court case will centre around the judge’s interpretation of the London Stadium concessionaire agreement signed by both West Ham and E20 Stadium LLP in 2013.

The agreement – which is in the public domain after a freedom of information request – defines the minimum football capacity of 54,000 but is strangely silent on the subject of a maximum capacity despite having over 66,000 seats available in the stadium. The agreement does infer that West Ham has the full use concessionaire areas of the stadium on match days which the club are understood to have interpreted to include all the seats within the stadium.

Brady confirmed that West Ham were forced to take out a legal injunction against London Stadium owners E20 to release information to an FA investigation about the Burnley crowd troubles. Brady explained to London Assembly members that initially E20 refused to hand over information for the FA investigation so the club was force to take them to court and won an injunction against them. The Vice Chairman added that the FA hearing about the Burnley crowd troubles which includes a look at the stewarding provision was being heard this week.

Brady also revealed that West Ham took out a second legal injunction against E20 to stop them installing a second tier of LED adverting at the London Stadium as it wasn’t permitted in the 2013 concessionaire agreement with West Ham. Again the Hammers won the legal injunction and the stadium owners were forced to abandon the installation.

West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady had admitted that the London Stadium with its current contracts would be difficult for West Ham to take over despite saying it is something she would look at.

Finishing her evidence to the London Assembly budget monitoring committee she was asked whether West Ham would be prepared to take over or buy the London Stadium.

Brady replied that the club would need to be really clear how UK Athletics, seat moves, long-term stadium maintenance costs and the operator were factored in to even consider it. Brady said “To be blunt, the reason we fixed our rent as a contribution to the operating costs is we did not want to find ourselves in the same position as E20 now find themselves in. We didn’t want to pick up costs of an operator we have no control over so we made an estimate being £51,000 being the cost at Upton Park”

Brady added “If I put myself in E20’s place and I have to pick up the contracts that they have signed which don’t seem to be very commercially geared in my mind with the operator, with seat moves, with UK Athletics and other users then I think that would be a very difficult situation for anyone to take over”

Karren Brady isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I am glad she is on our side, fighting our corner and negotiating on our behalf.

He is often said she negotiated ‘the deal of century’ for West Ham when signed the agreement for the London Stadium. If that is the case maybe the government should ask her to negotiate BREXIT with the European Union ? ;-)


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